July issue 2018

By | Election Special | Published 6 years ago


Three friends — Shahrukh Waseem Wamiq, Abdullah Quresh Abdullah and Subboh H. Jaffery, got tired of listening to media organisations regurgitate their opinions during election season and decided to create an online web-series — Turn Left for Pakistan (TL4P) — which offers another perspective.

The team worked together to create the script of the first season, the Election Series, shot at Circle Photography. The episodes are uploaded every Tuesday at 9 pm.

The gag-reel, uploaded on Facebook before the release of the episodes, got over 4,000 views, and doubled TL4P’s following on Facebook. TL4P’s first episode’s fresh commentary, wry wit and informative content garnered over 6,000 views and responses from people worldwide.

The creators of the initiative sat down with Newsline to talk about the web-series, and their plans for the future.

What prompted you to start the online web-series?

The three of us were brainstorming on what to talk about, and since it is the election season, decided this is something we should talk about first, with the goal to increase voter turnout on election day. We don’t have enough honest people, with no political affiliations or personal agendas sounding off on these issues. We plan to tackle other socio-political issues later.

Why ‘Turn Left’ for Pakistan?

It’s ‘Turn Left’ because we are left-leaning and are progressive in terms of our values. Our entire analysis of the different political parties, tenures of different governments and what they have or have not achieved, is with respect to their progressive policies more than anything else. We have a lot of left-leaning people in Pakistan who don’t have the information they need to take action on their political stance.

Does your left-leaning stance influence your content?

It’s called TL4P but the Election Series is us trying to be as objective as we can. We’re simply structuring the unformulated, scattered thoughts we see and hear on social media. Our intent is to provide an easy understanding of the issues so that everyone can follow, and then form their own opinions. The aim is to try to engage with all sides of the political spectrum.

Who is the intended audience for the web-series?

Our web-series is bilingual -— Urdu and English. Our target audience for this election series is the millennial voter (ages 16-30), who is largely disconnected from the political landscape of Pakistan. In 2013, we saw that there was some consensus that they would vote for one party — the PTI. That consensus doesn’t exist today.

What was the process in deciding the content for each episode?

We planned for five episodes for the election series: an introduction to Pakistani politics and the general elections, and then three episodes for the main parties — PTI, PPP and PML-N. The fifth episode will focus on the importance of voting. A lot of parties aren’t relevant and we wanted to tackle the ones that were.

What has the feedback been like for the web-series?

So far it’s been more popular in Sindh. However, we have received feedback from all over Pakistan and other countries. People are generally happy with the content we’re delivering.

Do you feel because this project was launched so swiftly, you might have fallen short of your expectations?

There was definitely a lack of time, and we had to rush the editing. We manage the research, editing and shooting, all with our own resources. Receiving donations and financial backing would definitely help!

Is there a second season in the pipeline?

While we do have plans for a second season, the web-series is just one part of the bigger picture. We want to start a space for other socio-political issues through podcasts, blogs, op-eds on our website.n